The Kuga was launched in South Africa in April this year, and pricing starts at R289 000 for the 1.6 EcoBoost Ambiente FWD, the standard one without extras.
The model I drove was the Kuga 2.0 TDCi Trend Powershift AWD, and is priced at R384 900. You just know you’re driving a Diesel by the sound of it.
I’m more of a small car person so driving the Kuga was quite a change for me. Although I managed better than I thought I would, and forgot all about its size once I sat in it.
WHAT I LIKED:
> The leather seats were very comfortable. It felt like I was sitting on a lounge suite.
> Even though I drove an automatic, I had the option to manually override that and decide what gear I wanted to drive in.
> The drive overall is smooth. I got used to it very quickly!
> Driving over speed bumps – a completely different experience in my own car.
> The beeping sounds when you’re reversing so you know how far you can go.
> The Sony sound system.
> Cup holders that actually work and you won’t spill by mistake (yes, I used it at times to store stuff, as you can see in the pic above).
> Ford SYNC – linking your phone to the car via Bluetooth is easier than you think. Using voice commands to skip or pause a track.
> The boot is huge, you can’t really run out of space even if you’re going on a massive shopping spree.
> Electric mirrors – anything that makes my life easy.
> Lots of leg room in the front, most noticeable if you’re in the passenger seat.
> The trip computer gives you a quick summary of how many kms left on the tank, distance covered & fuel consumption.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE:
> Even though I’ve driven a keyless car before, I’m embarrassed to admit it took a while to switch on the car initially (apart from pressing the start button, forgot to put my foot on the brake).
> There are quite a lot of buttons to deal with, it can get a bit overwhelming.
> Sometimes it couldn’t pick up the contact I wanted to dial.
> The position of the USB, inside the arm rest between the seats.
> Steering wheel was a bit too big.
> Not a big deal, but the colour of the Kuga.
Even though Ford has Park Assist to help you parallel park, I did not test this feature because I know how to park 😛 Remember Ford’s automatic tailgate system ‘Open Sesame’ where you wave your foot beneath the rear bumper and it opens? Here’s a video of me trying it out in Taipei at Computex:
Surprisingly, I enjoyed driving the Kuga for a week. A lot of small cars just moved out of my way – I must say I haven’t experienced that before! I got used to its luxury, forgot how big it actually is, and that it’s a “mommy car”; I wished it didn’t have to go back. Ford SYNC remains the best infotainment system I’ve used in a car to date. Read my hands-on with it here.